"Lean Finely Textured Beef," also referred to as "pink slime."

"Lean Finely Textured Beef," also referred to as "pink slime." (KTLA-TV)

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- Are you ready for a little "pink slime" in your kids' school lunches?

Officially called "Lean Beef Trimmings," the ammonia-treated ground beef is bright pink in color -- thus the moniker "pink slime."

It consists of a ground-up beef scraps, cow connective tissues and other beef trimmings.


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The meat is treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill bacteria, and then blended into traditional meat products, like hamburger patties.

Although "pink slime" has been rejected by fast food restaurants like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Burger King, the USDA is buying 7 million pounds of it for school lunches.

Health watchdogs have voiced various safety concerns about pink slime.

Some of the concerns involve the dangers associated with ammonium hydroxide, which is also used in household cleaners and fertilizers.

Additionally, in 2009, the New York Times reported that, despite being treated with ammonia, E. coli and salmonella were found in tests of Lean Beef Trimmings from schools across the country.

Between 2005 and 2009, E. coli was found three times and salmonella 48 times, according to the Times.

Despite the concerns, the USDA insists its ground beef purchases meet the highest standard for food safety.